VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to British Catholics to mark the first anniversary of his apostolic trip to the United Kingdom. In the text, which bears the signature of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., the Pope expresses his gratitude for the "warm welcome" he received in Britain.

A Mass of thanksgiving was held last Sunday in London's Westminster Cathedral, attended by local bishops and seminarians, as well as by representatives from the Anglican Church and the government. In his message, the Holy Father expresses the hope that the celebration "may serve as a fresh exhortation to respond to the challenge launched one year ago: ... to bear joyful witness to the truth of the Gospel, which frees our minds and illuminates our efforts to live wisely and well in society".

The Pope likewise encourages seminarians "to keep their gaze on Jesus Christ" as they dedicate themselves completely to their intellectual and spiritual formation, and "to become heralds of the new evangelisation". In closing Benedict XVI entrusts the United Kingdom to the intercession of Cardinal Newman, whom he beatified during the course of his trip last year.

MESS/                                                                                  VIS 20110920 (210)

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